This night, like every night, Fnark waited in the shadows. He waited for them to come. Tonight, he knew, they would come. In his bones, in his hooves, he could feel it. They would come.
Yes. The first one arrived, seeming to fade into being in the middle of the clearing. She stood dressed all in pink, and her long dark hair was perfectly braided. She looked around her, smiling despite her missing teeth.
Fnark stepped with care out of the shadows. Too slow. One of the others galloped up to to her first. For a moment the tiny creature seemed to be leaking air, but the sound quickly stopped as she reached up around the strong equine neck the other presented to her and squeezed. The arms were hopelessly too short to reach around the larger creatures neck. The other whinnied in response, and quickly lifted it’s head, pulling the visitor up into the air, and with a quick turn swung its young charge around onto it’s back. Again the little visitor squealed with delight, and all too soon they were both gone, trotting off into the forest.
Fnark stepped back into the shadows once more, bending forward to rub his single horn against a nearby tree, polishing it. More would come. Fnark could feel it.
Three more tiny visitors arrived in quick succession. Two more in pink, and one in light green. But always Fnark was too slow, and the others arrived first. Fnark waited.
When the visitor in purple arrived, Fnark rushed forward. He had done it. He would finally get to feel what it was like to run through the woods with one of the tiny visitors on his back. He opened his mouth and cried out a song of greeting. The tiny visitor, turned towards him, and her arms came up. But something was very wrong. Rather than reaching out towards him, the arms shot up and covered her face, which twisted into a mask of horror. The sounds that came forth were not squeals of delight, but cries of terror.
Fnark, confused, slowed, and one of the others, purest white, with horn shining in the moonlight, shoved passed him at full gallop. The visitor seemed to almost fly onto his rival’s back before Fnark could even react. Fnark stood and watched them retreat into the forest, listening to the hoof-beats long after he could no longer see any trace of movement in the darkness.
Head down, Fnark shuffled back into the shadows. No more would come tonight. Fnark could feel it. In his beak, in his ear feathers, he could feel it.